SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher and former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez were able to escape safely after the front of their home was engulfed in flames Wednesday morning.
It happened around 4 a.m., in the City Heights area. The couple said they were woken up by their smoke detector and saw flames to the front of the house. They were able to evacuate out of another door safely.
Fletcher released the following statement:
“Our family is safe and for us, that is all that matters. We are grateful for the quick response of the San Diego Fire and Police Department. Around 4:00 am, we were woken up by our smoke alarms. The front of our house was engulfed in flames, but we were able to safely evacuate out another door. San Diego Police Officers were immediately on the scene and the San Diego Fire Department was able to put out the fire and save our home. We are grateful for their efforts.”
He echoed that statement on the scene with his wife Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher.
"Around 4:17 the smoke alarm went off. I came out of the bedroom and we could immediately see the whole front of the house was engulfed in flames we got our family out," said Fletcher.
Firefighters were able to keep the blaze, which is believed to have started in an outdoor trash can, from reaching the interior of the residence, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
San Diego police say the San Diego Metro Arson Strike Team is investigating the fire.
"It is very early in the investigation. MAST is in the process of collecting evidence and locating witnesses. This morning’s fire is being treated as suspicious in nature," said SDPD Spokesperson Lt. Adam Sharki.
Fletcher said he did not want to comment about the suspicious nature of the fire which happened the day after he was unanimously re-elected as Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Neighbors said police questioned them and asked to review their surveillance video.
"They asked us if we captured anything on the camera. But they don't go that far," said Karyna. "There is nothing suspicious that stuck out to us."
Due to the nature of the fire Fletcher's neighbor Karyna didn't want to disclose her full name but said she understands not everyone may agree with the couple's policies but if the fire is intentional she believes this has gone too far.
The fire, which damaged a parked car along with the facade of the home, caused an estimated $36,000 worth of monetary losses, said SDFD Spokesperson Mónica Muñoz.
Fletcher made mention of his family emergency later Wednesday at the start of the Board of Supervisors meeting.
"I want to thank everyone for their thoughts," he said. "My family is safe. We are all in a good position. At the end of the day, all that matters is a person's family. In any event, let's do our work for today."
Gonzalez left the Assembly in January to take a leadership post with the California Labor Federation. Fletcher and Gonzalez were married in January of 2017.